Posted by: Jamie Stamm | August 19, 2008

I scream, you scream?

This summer, I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with the ice cream man.

The kid in me loves the ice cream man because … well, he drives a truck filled with ice cream. He has chocolate chip cookie sandwiches and snow cones in every color of the rainbow; frozen novelties like Spider-Man bars (they have bubble gum eyes!), Fudgsicles and Creamsicles; and the perfection that is a chocolate eclair.

And, unless you have to wait in line behind a gaggle of neighborhood kids, the gratification is instantaneous – there’s no trip to the ice cream parlor or grocery store, just the reaction time from when you first hear the ice cream man’s calliope music to the moment that you burst out of your front door with a handful of coins (OK, I’m dating myself now. Today, I guess it’s more like a fistful of dollars).

The parent in me, however, has grown to hate the ice cream man who drives through my neighborhood around 5:45 p.m., before I – and I’m sure many other parents – have had a chance to feed my children. He makes me look like the bad guy, as I deny Cera and Anthony sweet treats because they haven’t had their dinner.

And our ice cream man is persistent. He doesn’t just drive through the neighborhood once. No, we get to hear Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” for a full 15 minutes, as he targets each cul de sac again and again and again. Tonight, I debated abandoning our elaborate sidewalk chalk project (we were trying to color each brick on our front steps before Daddy got home from work) and yanking the kids inside at the first musical note, but I knew they’d still be able to hear him from the living room. So I endured the pouts and the pleading and tried to keep the kids interested in our art. It was a losing battle.

I almost want to confront our ice cream man … ask him if just once he can come by earlier in the afternoon. But I’m sure he has a regular route. And, like the rest of us, he’s just trying to make an honest dollar.

So I guess I’ll have to continue both loving and hating the ice cream man. It makes me want to scream.


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